Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Our family has adopted five children from China. Our first daughter was adopted through the NSN program when she was 3 years old. That was “old” according to the other families in our group. Our second daughter also adopted through the NSN program was 6 years old and again according to the other families in our group that was really old. Our third adoption was a huge leap of faith, a 13 year old waiting child. We saw her referral information in early January and we had to complete the entire adoption process in less than four months when she would turn 14 years old. Quite honestly I was so focused on the process/paper chase that I could not stress over every little thing that would happen when she came home. We did talk to the school, we did line up people who could translate for us and we purchased tools to help her learn English (Rosetta stone, dictionary, etc.). While we waited we sent our daughter letters, pictures and care packages to introduce our family to her. She even wrote us a very nice letter! This child has truly exceeded our expectations! She is an extraordinary person, kind, generous, intelligent, mature and optimistic. Today after 3.5 years she is a 17 year old junior in high school and doing very well with hopes of attending college when she graduates. Because her adoption was such a rewarding experience for our family, and we learned so much about the process of bringing an older child into our family, we went on to adopt 2 more older children (2 eleven year old daughters) and we have no regrets.
We are in no way implying that adopting older children is easy, it does require patience and perseverance. Every child is different and each child will handle their transition to your family and their new life differently. Some children will be well prepared and others will not be prepared at all. Overcoming the language/communication hurdle will be your first challenge. However this will improve quickly because your child will learn a little English everyday and your family will learn to communicate more with less language everyday. One of the questions we hear most often is what about school? All our girls go to public school and they all entered school right away, within weeks of arriving home from China. Most older children want to go to school as soon as possible. School gives their lives structure, it gives you and your child a break from each other, and it helps to develop their English language skills. Socializing with other children is a great incentive to learn English.
In the beginning the feeling will be awkward because essentially you are inviting a complete stranger into your family and your child is trying to be a part of a family they don’t know or understand. However, as you get to know your child and your child gets to know their new family the awkwardness will disappear and finally a day will come when you no longer remember your family without this child. As our family encourages others to adopt older children we know and understand what it feels like. We know that it is scary proposition and that it feels like you are taking a huge risk, but we also know that we have received so much for taking those risks that others weren’t willing to take. Some people without the experience of adopting older children may try to discourage you but I recommend that you do your research. Read books, read current articles, join yahoo groups, and visit family blogs. Most parents that have adopted older children are very willing to share their experience with you to help other older children find families. If you are considering adopting an older do your research, go into it with your eyes wide open and you will not be disappointed.
A Few Simple Words of Wisdom
Good – Watching older children experience “firsts” like holidays, family vacations, the beach, birthday celebrations, new clothes, new shoes, and making their own choices.
Biggest Adjustments – Food is probably the most difficult adjustment but they will slowly get used to American food. In the beginning they can eat Chinese take out and Ramen noodles. Learning English and learning American culture can take time, in the mean time watch out for conflicts or hurt feelings that develop from misunderstandings. Riding in a car can cause motion sickness for someone who might never or rarely have ridden in a car. The motion sickness will disappear as the child becomes accustomed to riding in a car.
Hardest Adjustments - Learning their place in the family and working out differences and conflicts with other family members. Again watch out for conflicts and hurt feelings caused by misunderstandings. Many times we find out that there really is no conflict just a misunderstanding. In other words everyone is in agreement, they just don’t know it. Learning age appropriate social protocol can be challenging too. Between the cultural differences and the child’s experience in China they may need a little extra coaching from you.
Adopting out of Birth Order – Often when a family adopts an older child it will be an out of birth order adoption. We have done it and it does present some unique challenges but in our opinion it is manageable. For example sometimes the older child may be jealous of the younger child because they were in the family first or the younger child may believe they can tell the older child what to do. Most 13 year olds will not appreciate a 6 year old ordering them around, but again with some coaching conflicts can be worked out.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Michael is a nine-year-old boy with hand and feet deformities. He is the epitome of a young man who is both totally cool and sweet in the same moment. He is from the Shenzhen orphange in Guangdong Province and appears to be a well adjusted boy. He has been living in an extended family-like foster family situation that seems to have encouraged a healthy sense of self without any attitude. I was taken with his ability to be comfortable showing off his moon walk and robot moves for his talent presentation. Clearly he was having fun, seemed unself-conscious and in total command of his body. While his deformities are visible, they didn't detract from his ability to fully engage in all of the activities of the day. Nor did it detract from his winsome personality.
Check out the smiley faces on his apple trees in the picture he drew:-) Could Michael be the child you've been waiting for to complete your family? Contact Marci for more pictures and details: email@example.com
Who knows, you may find the child that's meant to be yours!
If you do not have the password, please email the following information to Marci (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and she will gladly share it with you. Then if you wish to see a child's complete file, just let Marci know:
Are you married? If so, what was the date of your marriage?
Have you or your spouse been divorced? If so, how many times?
Do your net assets reach $80,000 or more?
What are you and your spouse’s highest levels of education?
Do you or your spouse have a criminal record?
What are you and your spouse’s BMI: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/adult_BMI/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.htm
Do you or your spouse have any health conditions?
Number of children in your home:
How long have you had them?
Do you have a home study completed or in process?
Is your dossier in another country?
If so, why do you want to view ASIA’s waiting children?
How did you hear about ASIA?
State that you “agree” or “disagree” to the following statement:
“I recognize that ASIA regards the information about children in its Waiting Child program to be private and confidential. If I am granted access to this information, I agree that I will only use this information personally in my own quest to adopt a child with special needs. I will not give the password and access information to anyone. I will not share or disseminate (including cut and paste) any of the information contained on the site.”
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
For a long time, she thought that life was hopeless. Her best friend was adopted around 11 yrs old. “They separated us, she was the only person I trusted, I relied on, and the only person in the whole world I cared about…My world turned upside down, I had nothing.” After her best friend left, she stopped talking, stopped smiling and her life stopped right there. It took her years to recover. She put all of her energy into her school. Now she is going to go to college and she reconnects with her best friend in the US. They talk to each other often via Skype. Each of them has their own life. But the bond they had never went away.
I asked her “Since you have lived there for 19 years, you must have very close relationships with the caregivers?” “Not really. They do take care of us when we are young. But we become very independent at an early age.” The life in the orphanage was hard. She used to take care of the older mean girls too. “The older girls always took advantage of me. I had to wash their clothes, get hot water for them, do their laundry and share my allowance with them.” Until director Xu came on board. Then life changed. They used to share a room with 12 people with only one fan in the hot summer days; now only 4 people in the room and they have air conditioning. “Director Xu always takes his time to talk to us. He asks us how’s school and life? He encourages us to talk to him whenever we feel like talking. He is such a great man!”
We gave her a ride and dropped her at the bus station. Watching her walking away, her short and pretty frame appeared stronger than ever. What she has been through made her a strong person, stronger than anybody I have ever known.
These kids are survivors. Their life has made them strong. Think of what potential they could have if given the chance to thrive with the love and resources a family can provide.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
George desperately wants a family. He is a sweet boy who has seen his friends get adopted and he enjoys practicing his English. As you can see from his picture, he has quite a lovely idea of what a home and family might be like. Let's help him find a family of his own.
Sherry is a shy girl with a sweet smile and demeanor. Please take a look at what a beautiful picture she drew. This may be her last chance to have a family due to her age.
Julia is intelligent, cute, polite and enthusiastic. She was born in 1996, so will age out of the system if she doesn't find a family to work quickly for her.
Skyler is quite the artist, drawing anime for his artwork. He's talented, speaks English, is 13 and is anxious to have a family. He is eager to succeed in life and with the right family he will:
Gina is a sweet and independent girl who is interested in learning. She is bright and a good student and likes to read, ride bikes and play sports. We have video of her reciting the ABC's in English.
Please help us find homes for these precious children! Even in tough economic times, children still need families. If each of you who views this blog tells 10 people about these children, the word will spread far and wide and perhaps we can find the right families. Thanks for all that you do!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009